(Day 1 of 4)
Malaysia, Truly Asia
The clever “Truly Asia” tag must have done wonders for the tourism industry in Malaysia. Last time I checked, it is the second Asian country to make it to the Top Ten Most Visited Countries list (the other Asian country being China). Kuala Lumpur has even edged out Hong Kong and New York in Wiki’s list of Most Visited Cities in terms of international tourist arrivals!
So yeah, I’m proud to be a part of that statistic for this year!
The 4-hour flight to KL via Cebu Pacific was a breeze. I was way too excited (ok, the extra-strong coffee might have been the culprit) so catching some shut-eye was not possible. Good thing I brought Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture which I finished before the pilot can even say “cabin crew, prepare for landing”.
My eyes only got a breather when the flight attendants announced their usual in-flight games. I managed (not a tinge of excitement at all here) to answer a question (a no-brainer “what’s Cebu Pacific’s website?”). And so I got me a prize, lol.
I also took a moment off to take a photo of this island which reminded me of a protozoa.
The scorching heat of the sun greeted us when we disembarked from the plane (think 2 degrees higher than what you are accustomed to in Manila). I would also soon learn that the sun sets way past 7pm in this part of the world. This was a dampener for my sis who has a “melanin issue” (read: “ayokong maging nita negrita”).
Sailing past the immigration counter was easy. Locating our bus was another thing. After exchanging a momentary “are we lost?” glance at each other (the 4-hour-ride-in-a pressurized-cabin must have affected our cerebrums), we decided to “go with the (human) flow” which led us to the bus stop. And then came the one and a half hour-long (my research indicated that this should have been just one hour) uneventful ride to KL Sentral.
I managed to take a glimpse of the magnificent road infrastructure before the caffeine dose wore off and then I was off to dreamland. Or was it just the ho-hum driving? Imagine good roads, no traffic and a Filipino driver. The first thing that you will be reaching for under these circumstances would not be the eye mask but the rosary, lol.
The Aerobus dropped us at KL Sentral, the city’s transportation hub where we ticked off the following items on our errand list:
1. Finding a money changer.
2. Buying our hop-on-hop off bus tickets (I would soon learn that people from KL refer to these buses as hiphop buses. Hop-on Hop-off can indeed be a mouthful.).
3. Getting directions to the hiphop bus stop near the area.
4. Buying our KTM Intercity roundtrip tickets that will take us to Penang.
5. Locating the lockers where we stored our luggage the next day. (We figured we can spare a few ringgits so that we wont have to lug around KL with our heavy bags.)
6. Locating the shower rooms (we were going to spend the next two nights on a sleeper train and we were planning to take our showers at the station).
7. Getting directions to YMCA Hostel from the helpful staff at the Information Counter.
The YMCA Hostel is conveniently located near KL Sentral (see my impressions of the hostel here). After dropping our bags in our room and freshening up a bit, we went to Shiok Kopitiam, YMCA’s café, where we had our very late lunch (past 4pm). I had chicken chop rice (fried chicken in oriental sauce) while sis had a black pepper chicken rice. Hearty portions and very tasty.
After our hearty lunch, we dropped off our keys at the reception counter and went to KL Sentral where we took a Rapid KL train to Kelana Jaya. We grabbed something to drink at the 711 store before we boarded the RapidKL Bus Route No. U89 which took us to IKEA (see my post on my IKEA experience here).
Our plan was to head to Bukit Bintang area after our (window) shopping at IKEA. But I conveniently lost track of the time going through the endless sections of the store and before we knew it, it was already 10pm. We decided to go back to the hostel where we grabbed a quick bite (I ordered Spaghetti Chicken Boulognaise while sis decided to be adventurous this time and ordered a plateful of the spicy Mee Goreng Mamak) before calling it a night.
You might also like the following stories on my Malaysian trip series: